Zoom vs. Hangouts vs. Houseparty: How are you keeping in touch with friends and family?

Houseparty Pixel 4
Houseparty Pixel 4 (Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

If you're sticking to social distancing recommendations, it means you're spending a lot of time inside. That can put a cramp on time with friends and family, but there are a lot of tools out there to help us keep in touch with one another. Personally, I've been sticking to a mix of Facetime and regular old phone calls, but I've seen a lot of people turning to things like Zoom and Houseparty as well, with a bit of Skype sprinkled in there, too.

So, with all of the craziness going on in the world, how are you staying in touch with friends and family? Let us know in the poll below.

Update: Added Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to the poll.

Nothing really replaces face-to-face contact, but it's been fun to see how people are finding ways to use apps not only to chat, but to host little events here and there. My friends and I ended up turning to Skype for a virtual movie night recently, though it ultimately turned into us just chatting and ignoring the movie. We've even struck up a virtual happy hour with some Windows Central folks and our colleagues at Android Central and iMore.

As more people have shifted to virtual meetups, we've also seen some troubling reports pop up about the different apps out there. Zoom is under fire on several fronts, while Houseparty has endured claims that using it could lead to your other accounts being compromised (a claim Houseparty has denied).

If you need some tips on how to get going with some of the bigger services out there while you're stuck at home, we have some guides that should come in handy. If you're trying to choose between Google Hangouts and Zoom, we've weighed the pros and cons of each. You can also check out how you can get started with Hangouts and Meet, and why you should or shouldn't use Houseparty.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • WhatsApp, which also has videocalls
  • Facebook Messenger, just press Video button in existing conversation
  • Skype on Xbox.
  • It's interesting that Skype on Xbox actually works the best of all the platforms I used it on. It's why I've kept my Xbox One with Kinect..lol
  • I'd like to hear what the writer thinks of the recent report that Zoom and maybe House party are not very secure nor private. It's clear, apparently from Zoom's own Terms and Conditions, that they scoop up a lot of data, and share it with third parties. Is this the next Facebook-like parasite app, where we are the parasite's host?
  • WhatsApp for chat. Skype for video calls with family.
  • Amazing that Teams isn't on the list (isn't this a Windows site??) It's what my group of friends is using. Trying to stay away from Zoom with its vulnerability and more importantly, its tracking and sharing of personal data with third parties.
  • My wife's parents are Luddites, so mostly communicate by mobile phone, would love to use Skype but my father-in-law only listens to his son , despite my many years experience in the computer industry and having used Skype since it first came out.
  • I tend to use Discord because i own a server there and my friends use it too
  • Skype
    It could have been WhatsApp, but as you can't make a video call on pc, no
  • Telegram messenger and Discord
  • Carrier pigeon and vacuum tube!
  • Marco Polo Hands down the best. Cross platform, videos, filters, groups, etc.. Best part is you can watch/reply on your own time.
  • Even though Zoom is getting all of the attention because of their sudden rise to prominence, other video teleconferencing applications have security flaws as well. This is why I've stuck with Skype despite the fact that from a quality perspective there is still much to be desired. From a security perspective, it's one of the best to use. With everything going on, I'm definitely leaning on the side of security.
  • I use Threema the most.